If you remember back a few months ago, I told you all I was leaving my job (then current school). The environment was just very unhealthy, I was not happy where I was in the building and was basically losing all desire to even be in education anymore.
Even more backstory, in case you don’t know. I’m a professional School Counselor. I have been a counselor for 8 years, most of which has been in a high school setting and most of that has been in private all-girls schools. It wasn’t intentional, it just happened that way and I enjoyed it.
Last year was literally the worst year of my career. There were so many issues in the school I worked in that every day was a new exercise in personal annoyance. I actually hated going to work by the middle of the year. I physically felt ill when I walked in the building every morning and felt utter disgust on Sunday nights because I had to spend the next five days there.
I resigned a little after the middle of the year and while that brought some relief, personally, it almost amped up the crazy that surrounded me. The day I was finally able to pack up my office was the happiest day of that school year.
I then spent the summer recovering; physically and mentally. All of the stress took a toll on my mental health as well as my physical health. I gained about 30 pounds last year and my blood pressure skyrocketed – all due to stress. I wasn’t sleeping, I was eating all the junkiest food on the planet, I wasn’t taking care of myself and I spent most of my workday on high alert.
It was hell.
I mentioned here, when I made my post about quitting that I thought I’d had enough of the education field for awhile and was going to make the leap into private practice. This summer, I re-instated my private practice license and began the process to have full independent licensure through the state of Maryland (I have supervision hours that I need to finish to be fully licensed).
Suddenly, I get a call right around the time the school year starts from a friend of mine in a local public school district. The county enrollment is way beyond their expectations and are looking to hire 20 new counselors to the district immediately.
She knew all about my situation from the year prior, knew my credentials, qualifications, etc and asked if I would be interested in applying for one of the openings.
I mean….I wasn’t….but I also kind of was interested….
Like, I don’t think I would have been mad if I didn’t get it, but I also figured sure let’s try.
Guess who was offered a position within two days of that phone call with a school?
And I did accept.
So, I am, once again, a high school counselor. Though this time in public school. (And currently without a picture of my new office because they should be painting it soon….so I genuinely have done very little to it…and it shows.)
In a school where I am one of 6 counselors (7 if you count our part-time community college counselor)
With boys and girls.
In a school of 2500 kids.
With a caseload of over 400 students.
And, I actually really enjoy it.
Don’t get me wrong, a caseload of 400+ is exhausting…and I am utterly exhausted most days.
But last year I was coming home emotionally drained every single day. I rarely came home happy, I was almost always annoyed, angry, depressed, sad, etc. That takes a huge toll on you.
I am coming home physically tired now but rarely emotionally spent. I’m aware it’s only October and I’ve only been there a few weeks. But by this point last year, I already knew I was done with my school and that I wouldn’t be returning the year after – it was that bad.
So I’ll take physical exhaustion over the emotional any day. And I know the physical exhaustion will become less over time once my body is used to actually working again.
Overall, I’m happy with the decision I made to return to school this year. I do still plan on working on my supervision hours over the next couple of years so that I can have the ability to do private practice as well, but I won’t be doing it full-time at the moment.
Here’s to a, hopefully, very productive school year for myself and for all my other educators!